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Patriarchy vs. Androcentrism: What's the Difference?

By Harlon Moss & Aimie Carlson || Updated on May 22, 2024
Patriarchy is a social system where men hold primary power and predominate in roles of leadership, whereas androcentrism is the practice of centering men's experiences and perspectives, often marginalizing women's viewpoints.

Key Differences

Patriarchy refers to a societal structure where men dominate positions of power and authority, often resulting in systemic inequality. Androcentrism, on the other hand, is the practice of prioritizing male experiences and viewpoints as the norm. This can manifest in various cultural, academic, and social contexts, where male perspectives are seen as universal, often sidelining or ignoring female perspectives.
Androcentrism influences knowledge production and dissemination, such as in literature, science, and history. While patriarchy is an overarching system of male dominance affecting various aspects of life, androcentrism is more about the focus and perspective within those systems.
Patriarchy enforces a hierarchy that places men at the top, often through institutional and structural means. Androcentrism subtly perpetuates gender bias by making male experiences the default, impacting the inclusivity of information and discourse.

Comparison Chart


System where men hold primary power
Centering of men's experiences and views

Impact on Society

Creates systemic male dominance
Marginalizes female perspectives


Leadership roles, laws, cultural norms
Academic, cultural, social contexts


Institutional and structural power
Perspective and representation

Gender Inequality

Enforces hierarchy favoring men
Biases information and narratives

Patriarchy and Androcentrism Definitions


Family structure with male heads.
In many cultures, patriarchy designates fathers as the family heads.


Male-centered perspective in culture.
History books often exhibit androcentrism by focusing on male achievements.


A social system where men dominate authority.
The company's boardroom exemplified patriarchy with its all-male members.


Prioritization of male experiences.
Medical research has been criticized for androcentrism in focusing on male subjects.


Institutionalized male supremacy.
The legal system under patriarchy often favors men.


Default assumption of male norms.
Androcentrism in language often uses 'he' as a generic pronoun.


A social system in which the father is the head of the family.


Academic bias toward men.
Androcentrism in academia results in fewer studies on women's issues.


A family, community, or society based on this system or governed by men.


Marginalization of women’s viewpoints.
Androcentrism in media leads to fewer female protagonists.


Dominance of a society by men, or the values that uphold such dominance.


Centered or focused on men, often to the neglect or exclusion of women
An androcentric view of history.
An androcentric health-care system.


The collection of men in positions of power, exerting such dominance. In all senses also called patriarchate.


An ideological focus on males and men, and issues affecting them, possibly to the detriment of non-males.


A social system in which the father is head of the household, having authority over women and children, and in which lineage is traced through the male line.


A power structure in which men are dominant.


(Christianity) The office of a patriarch; a patriarchate.


The jurisdiction of a patriarch; patriarchship.


Government by a patriarch; patriarchism.


A form of social organization in which a male is the family head and title is traced through the male line


Dominance of men in leadership.
Political patriarchy is evident in male-dominated parliaments.


Male-centric societal norms.
The societal patriarchy often limits women's roles to domestic spheres.


How does patriarchy manifest in society?

Patriarchy manifests through male-dominated leadership roles, laws, and cultural norms that prioritize men.

In what ways does androcentrism influence culture?

Androcentrism influences culture by making male perspectives the default, impacting media, literature, and social norms.

How do patriarchal societies affect women?

Patriarchal societies often limit women's roles, opportunities, and rights, leading to gender inequality.

What is androcentrism?

Androcentrism is the practice of centering male experiences and perspectives, often marginalizing women's viewpoints.

Can patriarchy and androcentrism exist together?

Yes, they often coexist, with patriarchy establishing male dominance and androcentrism reinforcing male-centric views.

How does androcentrism affect knowledge production?

Androcentrism biases knowledge production by prioritizing male perspectives, resulting in incomplete representation of women's experiences.

Are patriarchy and androcentrism the same?

No, patriarchy is a social system of male dominance, while androcentrism is the centering of male perspectives.

Why is androcentrism problematic in academia?

Androcentrism in academia can result in research that overlooks or marginalizes women's issues and contributions.

How can androcentrism be identified in media?

Androcentrism in media can be identified when male characters and viewpoints dominate, sidelining female narratives.

How does androcentrism affect language?

Androcentrism affects language by using male terms as defaults, such as 'he' for a person of unknown gender.

What is patriarchy?

Patriarchy is a social system where men hold primary power and dominate in roles of leadership and authority.

What changes can reduce patriarchy?

Promoting gender equality in leadership roles, implementing equitable policies, and challenging cultural norms can reduce patriarchy.

What role does education play in combating patriarchy?

Education can combat patriarchy by promoting gender equality and challenging traditional gender roles.

How does patriarchy impact gender equality?

Patriarchy creates systemic inequalities by limiting women's opportunities and reinforcing male dominance.

How do patriarchal norms affect family structures?

Patriarchal norms often position men as heads of households, limiting women's decision-making power in families.

What is an example of patriarchy in the workplace?

An example is a company where leadership positions are predominantly held by men, limiting women's career advancement.

Why is it important to address androcentrism in research?

Addressing androcentrism in research ensures a more comprehensive understanding that includes women's perspectives and experiences.

How can androcentrism be challenged?

Androcentrism can be challenged by actively including women's perspectives, promoting gender-neutral language, and ensuring diverse representation in all fields.

Can androcentrism impact healthcare?

Yes, androcentrism in healthcare can result in research and treatments that do not adequately address women's health issues.

What is a common misconception about patriarchy?

A common misconception is that patriarchy only affects women, whereas it also imposes restrictive roles on men.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Co-written by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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